Monthly Archives: April 2015

Week 15 Progress & Wrapping Up

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As the end of the semester nears, we need to ensure that your work and recommendations for future efforts are documented in a concise and coherent way.

Everyone: Comments on the Draft Sustainability Report: Please compile comments received about the report in the April 4 STF meeting. Please add the comments to the Google Drive draft plan at appropriate locations in the document.

Everyone: Grants / Foundations: Please put information you documented along with your name in the document in the Action: Grants / Foundation folder.

Group UC160: Please create a brief report on your recommendations for a section of UC160 focused on Sustainability. Resources and report in folder Action: UC160 Sustainability.

Group Student Symposium: Please create a brief report on the presentation (date, time, questions, etc.) and your recommendations for future similar presentations or outreach. Resources and report in folder Action: Student Symposium.

Group Dominion Foundation Grant: Please create a brief report on the Dominion Foundation Grant – Building Energy Monitors – and recommendations about writing this grant. We have basic information about these monitors but could use ideas for how to actually use them (building vs building or floor vs floor competitions to reduce energy use). Resources and report in Action: Grants / Foundations. Resources:

  • Energy_OWU.pdf: Student project report: see page 3 for recommendation for building energy monitors; the rest of this report sets the context for how we could document and compare energy data.
  • NSF_TUES_Grant.pdf: see page 7-8 in this grant proposal.

Group Badges: Please create a brief report on information and ideas for using Badges to promote sustainability and sustainability efforts on campus. Please look back at my discussion on the Week 11 Progress posting on this blog and include links to resources.

Group Food: Please create a brief report focused on the four goals we discussed with Gene Castelli for the food section of the sustainability report:

  • Real Food Challenge: Gene will update on his progress
  • Composting: Gene will get data (food scraps waste and Trim Trax program); summarize data from Geography 360 project on composting
  • Dishwasher and Reusable Dinnerware: Gene will get data on use of disposable dinnerware before and after introduction of reusable dinnerware (HWCC). Summarize data from Geography 360 project on dishwasher and reusable dinnerware (Allie France)
  • Bottled Water: Gene will get data on amount of bottled water sold on campus and continue to collect this data so we can monitor. Summarize data from Geography 360 project focused on water bottles and Ban the Bottle (Olivia Lease).
  • Student Position: Need for 10-15 hours per week of student labor to compile data. This could be the Legacy Internship position or potentially a new position created by the STF. Include a proposal for this position for fall of 2015.
  • Local Food Outreach: Finally, include as a goal OWU outreach to both Stratford and MTSO regarding their farms/gardens. Briefly summarize what each are doing. Also include mention of the Delaware Community Market.

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Finishing Up The Semester

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I. Against Sustainability: 2 or so pages

Echo chambers are not good! This situation occurs when all in a group believe just about the same thing and only interact with those who share similar beliefs. To throw a different voice into our efforts as we close the semester, I would like each of you to read a recent invective focused on sustainability on college campuses written by the National Association of Scholars (NAS). 

The NAS is a “think tank” funded by a small number of politically conservative organizations (Sarah Scaife Foundation, John M. Olin Foundation, the Bradley Foundation, the Castle Rock Foundation, and the Smith Richardson Foundation – all linked to in the Wikipedia article on the NAS). These foundations were built as an alternative source of “scholarly” efforts outside of colleges and universities (which are seen as being too liberal and unsympathetic to conservative causes).

Conservative organizations have targeted environmental studies and sustainability in higher education for several decades and the recent report is a good example of their concerns. Along with such critiques come efforts to focus research efforts in government and higher education on topics other than the environment. For example, the official Republican Party Platform has been erasing environmental issues from the science policy section of their platform and instead focusing on issues such as space exploration and neuroscience. Some have suggested that the funding (particularly from private donations) for neuroscience programs in higher education, for example, is an effort to shift focus away from typically popular environmental studies/science and sustainability programs. Curious!

Take a look at the report, linked below, and we will discuss during our last meeting (Thursday April 30). I would like you to write up a few pages of your thoughts on this report as part of your final efforts in the class (Due Thursday May 7 at noon).

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2. Course & Personal Assessment: 2-4 pages

One page or so: your thoughts on the course, its structure, and the way we worked out the goal (creating a draft Sustainability Plan). Did the wheels come off? Or not? Did we do more than throw a pinecone (see below)? Do you think our effort will affect sustainability efforts on campus? Or are you more pessimistic? Given that I will offer the course again next spring, document 3 things that worked well, and 3 that could use some work and/or ideas for what the course should focus on. Your suggestions for next year are very much appreciated.

One page or so: assessment of your personal efforts in the course. Describe what you did (specifically) and your role in the class (compared to other students in the class). As usual, given your efforts, let me know what you think you deserve for a letter grade.

Also due Thursday May 7 at noon.

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